Simmons & Simmons is pulling together its Hong Kong and Shanghai offices in readiness for the handover of the colony in July by creating a post of China managing partner.
The post will be filled by Huen Wong who has been with Simmons since 1988. He established the firm's Shanghai office, where he has been the managing partner for the past two years. Speaking from Shanghai, Huen Wong said being in charge of two offices which are to be fully integrated would not make his life easy, but added that he was “looking forward to the the challenge”.
According to Huen Wong, the main areas of growth in China after handover will be in the fields of securities and banking work.
“The firm's focus is the Asia region as a whole, but obviously China is the hottest place within that,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Simmons stressed the importance of Wong's role, which will be “vital to the development” of the firm's China and Far East practice. She added: “He is the ideal candidate to unify the two offices, because he was previously a partner in the Hong Kong office, and prior to that he was with the Hong Kong government for 10 years.”
Ken Woffenden, the current managing partner of the Hong Kong office, is to return to London. According to the firm, he has completed the task he was sent to do. Woffenden was responsible for restructuring the two practices in order to pave the way for the new appointment.
The spokeswoman said that Woffenden would be “working on a major new project in London, but at the moment it is under wraps”.